Best and worst of the Schools Edition

Any discussion related to any production or staging of Boublil and Schönberg's Les Misérables.
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Acaila
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Best and worst of the Schools Edition

Postby Acaila » Sun Sep 17, 2017 5:58 pm

Now I know a lot of us have seen, or in some cases, been in, amateur productions of Les Mis. We don't often seem to discuss them in general though.

What have you seen that really impressed you, whether it was something being done well, something really creative and original, or even just a good way to handle difficult scenes?
And of course, what have been the really truly "what on earth were they thinking?" production decisions you have seen.

I have a funny feeling the word "Blacklick" may be mentioned in here :twisted:
(and yes, with six weeks to go to my own production, I'm of course looking for confidence that ours is going to go well, even if just by comparison :oops: )
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Re: Best and worst of the Schools Edition

Postby TheRandomPhangirl » Sun Sep 17, 2017 6:36 pm

I feel like this is a good thing to start off with to show how *not* to do Les Mis:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uVEYyNybSnU

Ah Blacklick, we barely knew thee!

One nitpick that I consistently have with School's Eds is when Fantine only wears a mop cap after her hair gets cut, as opposed to wearing a short wig, if only because those caps can and do fall off, revealing her still-long hair underneath. It's hardly a travesty, but it certainly ruins the immersion.
Another is when the great big numbers like DYHtPS and ODM are static, and even the better SEs I've seen are guilty of these from time to time.
I'm the one to shout "Down with Polignac!"

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Re: Best and worst of the Schools Edition

Postby Morbidmuch_ » Sun Sep 17, 2017 7:23 pm

TheRandomPhangirl wrote:I feel like this is a good thing to start off with to show how *not* to do Les Mis:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uVEYyNybSnU

Ah Blacklick, we barely knew thee!


Holy crap :lol: I honestly don't know if I should laugh or cry. I couldn't even finish watching :|
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Acaila
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Re: Best and worst of the Schools Edition

Postby Acaila » Sun Sep 17, 2017 10:43 pm

Oy.... Blacklick really is something else. I feel like this should be up there with King Vikidal for things to cheer me up guaranteed.

I see Empty Chairs at Empty Tables is still on youtube too: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v61wLklkddk

My personal worst was some evidently completely unlicensed summer camp that, among other crimes, turned Stars into an interpretive dance number for the chorus.

EDIT: Weirdly I was just looking for more of Blacklick and came across at least mention of the latter one, which it turns out was Burlington Summer Arts Camp, 2005. According to lesmisloony: "We'll start with an older one, but a brilliant one. Some of my favourite things about this are the thousand Little Cosettes, the Stars interpretive dance, and Valjean's random wheelchair at the end. It's a long video, but if you make it all the way through... you deserve some kind of award, seriously. Feel free to skip the pretentious slideshow at the beginning if you can, because some of this staging has to be seen to be believed. "


Reading up on it here, here are some of the travesties from this version:

1) Every solo is turned into an interpretive dance number.
2) Valjean rescues Fauchlevant by lifting the cart and Facuhlevant just walks off stage.
3) An actual woman in white appears during Castle on a Cloud.
4) A hot pink backdrop lasts for most of the show.
5) "Master of the House" is worth watching if you want a really good laugh. There's not enough space to explain the awfulness.
6) Valjean comes in with Little Cosette. "Alas! Who are the owners of
this hotel?" Thenardier: "I'M the master of the house!"
7) In My Life and A Heart Full of Love is turned into Cosette gushing
to Valjean about meeting Marius, which hasn't even happened since they
cut it from the show!
8. Valjean is replaced in the second act by a 7-year-old in a tux too
big for him.
Revolution: like Christmas come early only with more death
Abaisse Chief/Chef
"Les Amis Fun Package - The Awesome Traits of Each"
"She's basically Enjolras meets Amy Pond"
Sings Stars "way better than Russel Crowe"

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Re: Best and worst of the Schools Edition

Postby 23623 » Mon Sep 18, 2017 8:17 am

TheRandomPhangirl wrote:I feel like this is a good thing to start off with to show how *not* to do Les Mis:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uVEYyNybSnU

Ah Blacklick, we barely knew thee!

One nitpick that I consistently have with School's Eds is when Fantine only wears a mop cap after her hair gets cut, as opposed to wearing a short wig, if only because those caps can and do fall off, revealing her still-long hair underneath. It's hardly a travesty, but it certainly ruins the immersion.
Another is when the great big numbers like DYHtPS and ODM are static, and even the better SEs I've seen are guilty of these from time to time.

I'm crying this is SO FUNNY. :lol: :lol: :lol: It's like Les Mis done by an entire cast of Vikidal Gyulas.
Where can I find the whole thing? I really need to appreciate this um, masterpiece, in its entirety.

By the way is there any chance that we could watch your production as a GOOD example, Phangirl? :D
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Re: Best and worst of the Schools Edition

Postby TheRandomPhangirl » Mon Sep 18, 2017 8:50 am

Acaila wrote:Oy.... Blacklick really is something else. I feel like this should be up there with King Vikidal for things to cheer me up guaranteed.

I see Empty Chairs at Empty Tables is still on youtube too: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v61wLklkddk

My personal worst was some evidently completely unlicensed summer camp that, among other crimes, turned Stars into an interpretive dance number for the chorus.


God, try as I might, I can't hear Blacklick Marius sing without immediately bursting into laughter. Christ. Poor kid, I hope he's into something else that's not the arts.

Oh dear, if that thread's anything to go by, I'm kind of glad the link in the header's expired; I think that one would have broken my brain a little. :lol:

23623 wrote:Where can I find the whole thing? I really need to appreciate this um, masterpiece, in its entirety.

By the way is there any chance that we could watch your production as a GOOD example, Phangirl? :D


The whole thing used to be on youtube, but most of it's been taken down; I think ODM and ECAET are the only surviving remnants.
Maybe, depends if you think mine *is* a good example! As much as I love it, mine certainly has it's Fail Moments :lol:

I found another failtastic version in the dark depths of youtube earlier:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NLg7ZxO1_n0&t=2700s

To be fair to the kids, as an ensemble they make a decent enough sound. But oh boy, are there issues. For one, you can tell it was done by a church group, because a) it's in a church as opposed to an actual theatre or hall, that's fairly on the nose, and b) Lovely Ladies and a majority of the swearing is cut. Valjean, while his singing's actually pretty alright, cannot act at all, poor lamb. In fact, most performances are quite OTT, even for characters who aren't comedic. Having said that, M and Mme T go a bit overboard too.
What I don't get is why the Amis, who are played by a mix of girls and boys are...a mix of girls and boys. Some of the girl Amis are in waistcoats and trousers, while others are in skirts and blouses. Maybe this was so they could meld into the ensemble again when not playing the students, but I think it's a bit odd.

On the plus side, some of them aren't that bad. Cosette's decent, as is Fantine. The staging's interesting; obviously it's not a very conventional performance space for a full-scale show, but I dunno, I kinda like the use of the stairs and platforms. Unfortunately the barricade seems to be a figurative one rather than literal, but the way they used the platforms for levels was reminiscent of different positions they'd climb if they had an actual one.
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Re: Best and worst of the Schools Edition

Postby Prisoner 24653 » Tue Sep 26, 2017 8:57 pm

Hee hee! Oh man... :lol:

I wonder, can we also post here about community theatre productions and other amateur versions, and schools that are doing (or trying to do) the regular show; or just the School Edition, specifically? If other versions are allowed, I have some things to share, both good and bad, about the school/community production I saw back in 2013. (The line between "school" and "community" is a bit blurry with several of the theatre companies in Hawaii for legal and practical reasons, so hey.)

ETA: This. Just listen... :lol: http://bluecoolkind.tumblr.com/post/164 ... sque-esque

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Acaila
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Re: Best and worst of the Schools Edition

Postby Acaila » Tue Sep 26, 2017 11:44 pm

Any amateur productions welcome! :)
Revolution: like Christmas come early only with more death
Abaisse Chief/Chef
"Les Amis Fun Package - The Awesome Traits of Each"
"She's basically Enjolras meets Amy Pond"
Sings Stars "way better than Russel Crowe"

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Re: Best and worst of the Schools Edition

Postby CC21106 » Thu Sep 28, 2017 11:13 pm

One nitpick that I consistently have with School's Eds is when Fantine only wears a mop cap after her hair gets cut, as opposed to wearing a short wig
Those mobcaps are ridiculous. Surely it would not be too hard to at least pin up the hair right quick and fit on a tight cap.

I'd like to see a Fantine with really long blonde hair someday, like in the book.
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Prisoner 24653
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Re: Best and worst of the Schools Edition

Postby Prisoner 24653 » Thu Oct 26, 2017 12:20 am

My alma mater's theatre group posted photos of many of the main people in their LM! Blonde Fantine is a win, and it generally looks okay. No photos of Cosette when she's grown (at least so far), but we shall see...

And the following status posted by the drama teacher: "Working on the barricade scene. I must have said some variation of 'Just die.' a hundred times tonight. Weird life I have. <3 " :lol:

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Acaila
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Re: Best and worst of the Schools Edition

Postby Acaila » Fri Oct 27, 2017 9:47 pm

Loving the pictures! Marius' costume is weirding me out a bit though. It looks to me like Kylo Ren cosplaying as Javert. Slightly weirded out because their Fantine could pass for twins with one of our makeup team! The photo of Valjean and babySette is adorable!
Revolution: like Christmas come early only with more death
Abaisse Chief/Chef
"Les Amis Fun Package - The Awesome Traits of Each"
"She's basically Enjolras meets Amy Pond"
Sings Stars "way better than Russel Crowe"

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Prisoner 24653
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Re: Best and worst of the Schools Edition

Postby Prisoner 24653 » Sun Jul 15, 2018 7:04 pm

I shared this on Discord, as well -- The cast of my alma mater’s LM got another moment to shine a few days ago when they performed a medley of songs from the show for the Educational Leadership Institute at Hawaii’s convention center. This tweet has a partial vid... I’ll see if there’s a more complete one. Still awesome, I think!

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Re: Best and worst of the Schools Edition

Postby jemappellegrantaire » Fri Jul 20, 2018 9:07 pm

Not exactly a "production decision" per say, but my high school once did a production of Les Mis and practically the entire cast got lice. A single person in the cast got it and then it spread from sharing dressing rooms and hair brushes and whatnot. After that, they started ad-libbing jokes about lice during "Master of the House."

The overall production actually turned out really amazing though. One particular year in my school had a lot of really strong singers. The sewer scene got some giggles considering everyone knew the guys playing Valjean and Marius were dating at the time :lol:


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